Fluoride feedback website closes with a flurry of submissions

More than 300 submissions have been posted on Bega Valley Shire Council’s ‘Have Your Say’ website on fluoride since it was set up four months ago.

Public consultation on the possible extension of fluoridation to the shire’s drinking water supplies closed on Friday, April 7.

The original cut-off date of March 10 was extended by four weeks by BVSC general manager Leanne Barnes.

The council’s manager of water and sewage services, Jim Collins, said on Tuesday that he was delighted with the response.

“About 330 submissions have been received … it’s a great result,” Mr Collins said.

The submissions will now form part of a report to council. No date has been set for the council vote. 

Mr Collins said council had gone out to tender to set up the ‘Have Your Say’ website, saying it was beyond council’s resources.

Successful tenderer Hunter H2O was a multi-disciplinary water company, which had conducted the submissions process in a “professional and ethical” manner, he said.

Four water supply systems serve communities in the shire – Bega-Tathra, Tantawanglo-Kiah, Brogo-Bermagui and Bemboka.

Fluoride has been added to the Bega-Tathra water supply system since 1963. 

Council is in the process of upgrading its water supply infrastructure, including water treatment facilities, within the Tantawanglo-Kiah and Brogo-Bermagui water supply systems.

As part of the upgrades, council is considering adding fluoride to these water supplies.

The Bemboka water supply system is not being considered at this stage, but it may be reassessed in the future if more people move to the area and it is cost effective.

Mr Collins said council had sent 1400 letters to property owners whose premises were connected to the shire's water supply informing them of the proposal to extend fluoridation.

He said the proposal also had been advertised in the media and it had generated a great deal of debate in the community.

Fluoridation was an issue that tended to polarise opinions, with people who supported it generally less likely to make submissions, Mr Collins was quoted as saying earlier this year.

About 100 submissions had been received up until March 10, indicating a last-minute flurry of submissions from the public in recent weeks.

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